[an error occurred while processing this directive] FactsCanada.ca -- Sunday Newsletter 2001-40Su
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Sunday Newsletter 2001-40Su.

October 7, 2001.

[John] Have you ever had one of those days when you just felt so lethargic and down, that even lifting your hand became a chore? Well, I just had one of those weeks. I started this newsletter a week ago and now sit here on the day that Craig is supposed to have edited and sent it out to all of you. I sure hope I am on the road to getting rid of this mental block soon.

There is an awful lot going on in my personal life right now. Some of you are aware of the muddled labyrinth and perplexities of the "roadblocks" around which I am attempting to steer. Sometimes I'm not successful and I find myself slammed face first in one of the barriers. I won't prolong this introduction much more, but I make the pledge that I am doing my best and will continue to try and bring to all of you a quality weekly newsletter of Canadian stories, biographies and other factual tidbits that are hidden almost right in front of our enquiring minds (and noses).

The other pledge I make is to Craig, and I will make it for all of you to see and read: I won't promise (again) to work on this newsletter during the week. Holding down a job which consumes 13 hours a day, plus an hour-long commute each way, simply does not allow me to defer to the regular work week that which I need to contribute to the project we call FactsCanada.ca. I promise to get it done on the weekend or reach out and ask for help.

Asking for help is something that I actually did this past week. Craig agreed to find the time to assist me in a personal endeavour, and put aside time for me to come over to his spacious computer lair to work on it. You know what I did? I completely forgot about our engagement and headed home on the day in question. For this I say, "Craig, I am sorry."

What have I learned or, more correctly, what has been reinforced in my consciousness? Never take a friend's offer of help lightly or for granted. If you reach out for help, the least you can do is provide your hand!

Enough said. Thank-you, and now on with the newsletter.

[Craig] Hey, no problem man.


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\\ TABLE OF CONTENTS //

\ Question of the week
\ Biography — Louis Cyr
\ Also born this week
\ It happened this week in history
\ Place names
\ Editorial — My Attempt at Elucidation
\ Quote of the week
\ Deferments
\ Answer to this week's question
\ Preview
\ Links and resources
\ Legal and subscription information


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\\ QUESTION OF THE WEEK //

In 1967, Montreal, Quebec, hosted Expo '67. What was the theme of this exposition?

As usual you can find the answer near the bottom of the newsletter.


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\\ BIOGRAPHY //

Louis Cyr

Cyr's height was the only normal aspect of his stature — although some sources claim he was 174 cm (5' 8.5") tall, he is generally believed to have been 179 cm (5' 10.5"). Because of his complex build he was nicknamed the "strongest man in world".

Born in Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville, Canada East (about 38 kilometres southeast of Montreal), on October 11, 1863, Cyr worked at a variety of jobs prior to displaying his feats of strength exclusively to the public through a host of sponsors, employers and independent ventures. Cyr grew up in the wilds of Quebec in the 1860s and 1870s, and inherited much of his physique from his grandfather and his mother. His grandfather (who encouraged him to eat lots and grow, instructions he apparently took to heart) was a huge 193 cm tall and weighed 118 kg (6' 4" and 260 lbs). His mother stood 188 cm tall and weighed 120 kg (6' 2" and 264 lbs). Cyr eventually settled into his "best weight" at around 132 kg or 290 lbs.

Working as a lumberjack during the days prior to the power saw, his strength and stamina were unparalleled. He proved this point once when he came upon an injured lumberman in the Quebec woods near his home. The man had broken his leg and asked Cyr to travel the 11 kilometres to his village to fetch assistance. Undaunted, Cyr hoisted the injured man on his shoulders and carried him the distance to safety. This proved to be fortunate not only for the lumberman, but also for Cyr, as the lumberman became his lifelong friend, a financial backer, and his benefactor in later years.

Cyr's family relocated for a short time to Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, where he became known as the "Canadian Samson". Returning to Quebec a while later, Cyr met Melina Courtois and they were married in 1882. Knowing he needed a more substantial future, one almost literally fell into his lap when he apparently stepped into and, by sheer physical force, broke up a dangerous knife fight. Accounts of the day recall how Cyr disarmed and subdued the combatants and then made a citizen's arrest, carrying both miscreants, one under each arm, to the local cop shop. With this superb reference Cyr joined the good guys becoming, for several years, a genuine police officer. During his years as a police officer, Cyr also sought other ventures to add to the family's financial success. Besides winning the North American weight-lifting championship in 1885 and the world championship in 1892, Cyr exhibited his superior strength through elaborate but somewhat archaic displays, often earning up to $5000 per exhibition. With a tidy fortune stowed away Cyr purchased a tavern which featured a gymnasium and other pieces of equipment with which Cyr amazed the crowds.

I won't delve into his actual feats here, but there are plenty of links below for you to check out at your leisure. Some are quite amazing — some quite crude. What I will provide for you are some of Cyr's other bodily measurements. They were:

Neck (circumference): 50.8 cm (20")
Biceps (circumference): 51.5 cm (20.3")
Wrists (circumference): 20.8 cm (8.2")
Chest (circumference, not expanded): 140.2 cm (55.2")
Chest (circumference, expanded): 152.4 cm (60")
Thighs (circumference): 72.4 cm (28.5")
Ankles (circumference): 26 cm (10.2")

This was one big man. Many said he ate himself to death when he died one month into his 49th year on November 10, 1912, in St-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec. He died of a kidney ailment known as Bright's disease. His legend and accomplishments remain a part of Canadian history and folklore to this day.


Picture of Louis Cyr
Louis Cyr: Strongest Man who Ever Lived
HickokSports.com on Louis Cyr
Louis Cyr, The Quebec Strongman
FactsCanada.ca map of Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville, Quebec


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\\ ALSO BORN THIS WEEK //

Frank "Raffles" Boucher, NHL player, coach, general manager, and Hall of Fame member, born in Ottawa, Ontario, October 7, 1901.

Jean-Paul Riopelle, painter and sculptor, born in Montreal, Quebec, October 7, 1923.

Patrick George Binns, premier of Prince Edward Island (1996-present), born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, October 8, 1948.

George Edwin King, lawyer, judge and second premier of New Brunswick (1870-1871 and 1872-1878), born in Saint John, New Brunswick, October 8, 1839.

Carling Kathrin Bassett-Seguso, tennis player better-known simply as Carling Bassett during her professional playing days, born in Toronto, Ontario, on October 9, 1967.

Aimee Elizabeth Semple McPherson (ne Kennedy), missionary, litigious promoter and scandalous "celebrity", born October 9, 1890, in Ingersoll, Ontario. Semple was the surname of her first husband, McPherson her second. David Hutton was her third husband, but she is not remembered with this name. She died of an apparent accidental drug overdose two weeks shy of her 54th birthday on September 27, 1944, in Oakland, California.

William Robertson Warren, judge and 16th prime minister of Newfoundland (1923-1924) prior to its entry into Confederation, born October 9, 1879, in St. John's, Newfoundland.

George Johnson Clarke, editor, lawyer and premier of New Brunswick (1914-1917), born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, October 10, 1857. Clarke died 25 days after leaving office on February 26, 1917, at the age of 59.

David William McFadden, poet and novelist, born in Hamilton, Ontario, October 11, 1940.

David Binnie Turner, soccer player and public servant, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on October 11, 1903. Turner came to Canada at the age of 11 and is a member of both the Canadian and British Columbian Sports halls of fame.

George Ritchie Hodgson, Olympic swimmer and medal winner, and investment broker, born in Montreal, Quebec, October 12, 1893. The gold Olympic medal he won in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1912 was the first medal by a Canadian swimmer. His records stood for a dozen years until broken by American Johnny Weissmuller (who later became the consummate "Tarzan" in film). Hodgson died six months shy of his 90th birthday on May 1, 1983.

Dorothy Livesay, poet, journalist, teacher and short-story author, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, October 12, 1909. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987.

Albert Charles Saunders, lawyer, judge, four-time mayor of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and premier of Prince Edward Island (1927-1930), born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on October 12, 1874.

Edward Blake, lawyer and Ontario's second premier (1871-1872), born in Adelaide Township, Upper Canada, October 13, 1833.

Sir John William Dawson, geologist and principal of McGill University, born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, October 13, 1820. Dawson was knighted in 1884 and he formed the Royal Society of Canada. (You can read Sir John's biography in FactsCanada.ca issue 2000-15Su.)


Dorothy Livesay: Canadian Creator of Literary Culture


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\\ IT HAPPENED THIS WEEK IN HISTORY //

October 7, 1982 — Patrick Alan Morrow, mountaineer and photographer, became the second Canadian to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He did this about two weeks prior to his 30th birthday. Morrow is a native of Invermere, British Columbia.

October 9, 1970 — After paying an entry fee of $6 million, the Vancouver Canucks joined the National Hockey League on May 22, 1970. It was on October 9th that they played their first home game in regular season play at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. Unfortunately they lost this first game 3-1 against the Los Angeles Kings. Barry Wilkins scored Vancouver's first and only goal and the attendance was 15 062.

October 10, 1911 — Sir Robert Borden began his term as prime minister of Canada. He remained in power until October 12, 1917.

October 10, 1970 — Politician Pierre Laporte was kidnapped by the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ). He was killed one week later on October 17.

October 12, 1962 — Typhoon Freda, or at least its remnants, struck Victoria, British Columbia, where winds reached sustained speeds of 74 kilometres per hour and gusted to over 145 kilometres per hour. There were seven storm-related deaths and damage exceeded $10 million. Of the ten tropical cyclones that develop each year in the North Atlantic, only six will be hurricanes, and only one or two will enter cool Canadian waters. (The nine tropical storms, of which five were hurricanes, that entered Canadian territory in 1995 were a notable exception.) Generally, the only regions affected in this country range from the Atlantic provinces through Quebec to Ontario east of Lake Superior. Very seldom do hurricanes stray into Canada's Pacific waters (where they are called typhoons), which are too cold to sustain hurricane intensities.

October 13, 1909 — The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) was created. Today over 5000 women and men serve in North America's third-largest deployed police force. The have jurisdiction over the entire province with the exception of those cities or municipalities with their own forces.


Vancouver Canucks
Canadian Hurricane Centre


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\\ PLACE NAMES //

I was planning to use this space to tell you about the City of Penticton, British Columbia. However, a couple of other toponymy-related housekeeping items have come up, so I'll address those instead and present Penticton to you next week. The two items I mention are an omission from issue 2001-38Su (two weeks ago) regarding the Belcher Islands and a clarification of information we and the mainstream media have presented about the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

First off, thanks to long-time reader Mike who pointed out that I never mentioned for whom the Belcher Islands were named. Here you go Mike.

From explorer Henry Hudson's logbook entries in 1610 it seems these islands may have first been observed by he and his crew that year. Shortly after, however, his crew mutinied and set Hudson and others adrift. There is speculation that Hudson and his loyal crew members landed on the Belcher Islands, and that they are buried there. Moving along another 117 years it has often been said that William Coates of the Hudson's Bay Company named this group of islands after James Belcher, who supplied the Hudson's Bay post here with furs and many other items. I hope this answers your question Mike.

I also received a message from a subscriber in Arlington, Virginia, in the United States. It said, in part, "You know, just for your information — and not very many people are aware of this — the Pentagon is actually located across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, in Arlington, Virginia. The property is contiguous to Arlington Cemetery. Technically, Washington, DC, was never attacked. Just thought, for the sake of correctness, you might like to know."

Thank-you for that clarification. As I said in my response to you, I actually already knew this from a trip my brother and I made there way back in 1984. However, it's just one of the many pieces of information that has been pushed aside over the years. When the terrorist attacks happened many, if not most, news agencies referred to the Pentagon attack "in Washington, DC". That is where our misinformation and the public's perception formed its roots.

We're actually in pretty good company with this piece of misinformation, although we don't want to be wrong just like everyone else. However, as the links below will show, CNN and even the Pentagon themselves seem confused — the Pentagon's logo says, "The Pentagon — Washington". (Of course, that raises the question of whether or not they might actually be located in Washington State!)


Map showing Washington, DC, relative to Virginia and Maryland
CNN report referring to attack on Washington, DC
The Pentagon
The Pentagon's postal address


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\\ EDITORIAL //

My Attempt at Elucidation

A headline out of Halifax last weekend said that, according to some of the country's top intelligence experts, "The threat of more terrorist strikes in North America is forcing Canada to review the way spies collect information." These intelligence experts, so-called spies, and members of academia met on the final weekend of September to discuss such issues. The central theme of the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Security and Intelligence Studies was the sweeping change brought about by the atrocities directed at all freedom-loving people of this world, but suffered in the main by the American people (and those from the many other nations unfortunate enough to be at "ground zero") on September 11, 2001.

Think about it — this invasion of our way of life could just have easily taken place in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax, London, England, or Sydney, Australia. Of course, strategically speaking, what better way to disturb the ebb and flow of all facets of this way of life than to strike exactly where the terrorists did? Even renowned author Tom Clancy said that the horror produced was far more widespread than even he would have fantasized he could create in one of his own works of fiction. This catastrophe, engineered and ignited by human minds, is beyond the realm of the art of the literary world imitating life — it was life creating a whole new domain for mankind to recognize.

Some ideas bantered about during the previously-mentioned weekend in Halifax included those of a certain faction who suggest that the federal government should create a new ministry, with plenty of money and staff, devoted solely to national security. Other blocs pushed for the expansion of intelligence gathering beyond Canada's borders, establishing a foreign spy service comparable to those operated by many other countries. Even one speaker went so far as to warn Ottawa that we could be shut out by our allies, including by the United States, if we don't start contributing more to the intelligence community. David Charters, director of the Centre for Conflict Studies (yes there is actually an organization devoted to this contemplation) working out of the University of New Brunswick, speculated that, "To stay competitive, not only with our allies but with the kind of emerging threats and problems in the world, what is needed is a far higher degree of central co-ordination." Wesley Wark, a history professor at the University of Toronto, added, "We have to wake up to our commitments." He added, "Canada's international role in intelligence rests on Canada's allied connections. If we lose our place at the allied intelligence table, we go blind." Finally Richard Fadden, the Security and Intelligence Coordinator for the Privy Council Office, added, "This new enemy is a difficult one to learn about, it will take a multifaceted campaign, part of a comprehensive effort with the intelligence community playing an important and ongoing role."

I have to be perfectly honest and admit to being swayed by the idea of the creation of a new and separate ministry, with a healthy budget and having far-reaching powers which should be regulated only by the very heads of our government. However, each of us on our own also need to do what is possible to ensure our own personal safety, and that of our property and the values in which we believe. Through insurance, alarm systems (for home, office and vehicle), warranties, smoke alarms and the like we must attempt to protect the things we cherish most; our loved ones, our property, and our way of life.

It is also time for us to get off of our behinds and actually do something constructive. We have to think about protecting ourselves from more than just the drunk teenager walking the streets at night spraying our vehicles with paint, or the thugs looking for their next fix stepping out of the shadows and demanding our watch and wallet. We too, as individuals, must start to think on a grander scale — the world's stage — not simply leave everything up to our government.

Suddenly we have the fear that terrorism could be lurking around each and every corner, even hiding its ugly head within giant corporations. In fact, the prime suspect in the resent terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden, is suspected of owning a significant amount of property in the United States, and having access to a $50 million line of credit with a major and well-known American bank — all through intermediaries, of course. This line of credit was probably used in ways we don't even want to consider.

Remember, these are just my views on the subject. I would be very interested in hearing your feelings on this subject. If you wish to share them you can e-mail me at john@factscanada.ca to let me know just what you think. Depending on the response we may even consider a follow-up to this editorial. If you prefer to remain anonymous, just let me know and if we include your thoughts in a possible future article I will not refer to you as Clarence from Carleton or Clarice from Kapuskasing.


Centre for Conflict Studies, University of New Brunswick
Centre for Conflict Studies, Annual Conference
Links to various intelligence associations
Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies
Afghanistan Intelligence Agencies


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\\ QUOTE OF THE WEEK //

"Encased in the hard, bright shell of my dream
How sudden now to wake
And find the night still passing overhead,
The wind still crying in the naked tree,
Myself alone, within a narrow bed"

Dorothy Livesay.


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\\ DEFERMENTS //

As I alluded to above, my stories on William Jackman and his heroic deeds, murderer Evelyn Dick, carillonneur Frank Percival Price, and Penticton, British Columbia, will be postponed until next week or following weeks. Thanks for understanding.


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\\ ANSWER TO THIS WEEK'S QUESTION //


Above I posed the question: "In 1967, Montreal, Quebec, hosted Expo '67. What was the theme of this exposition?"

Answer: Man and his world.


Prime Minister Lester Bowles Pearson's opening remarks at Expo '67


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\\ PREVIEW //

On Friday we will be sending out this month's Friday Feature. I will take a break from all of the heavy subject matter I have addressed recently, and will look at several humour sites dedicated or related to Canada and Canadians.


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[Craig] We hoped to get this out in time to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, but we didn't make it. John and I hope that yours was good, and that you have much for which to be thankful. Make sure you have a close look at next Sunday's Newsletter. I'll have my Geek Report with some news that might interest you.


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